Swimsuit Sewing 2018

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I’ve been holding out on you guys!  I can’t believe I haven’t shared all the swim goodness that’s been happening at our house.  I’d like to thank Raspberry Creek Fabrics for giving me the push I needed to sew a million swimsuits this year- ok, maybe not a million but we’ve been busy for sure.

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This little man has gotten three swimsuits so far this year.  You know me, once I start it’s hard for me to stop sewing swim.  It’s so quick and rewarding and they get worn constantly.  This suit is a Jolly Roger Raglan turned rashguard.  I was dying to try the new Cricut Sportflex vinyl on swim knit and I’m happy to say it’s held up so well.  The rash guards in this post have been to the pool multiple times and washed in the machine as well and the vinyl looks brand new.  I’m happy to have a fun, easy, quality way to personalize our swimsuits.

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The shorts are the Peek-a-Boo Patterns School’s Out Shorts.  I used the girl cut line and love the length on him.  It’s very retro and just like the big boys are wearing.

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This suit is made with the Linden Shorts pattern and add-on pack from Sew A Little Seam.  This palm print from Raspberry Creek’s newest swim line was one of my favorites and I just knew this little guy needed a suit from it.

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Is this just not the picture of a happy kid, living the dream summer life?!

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His last suit, so far, is the Sew Like My Mom Palm Euro suit.  I love the fit of this pattern and that it’s a little looser around the front area, if you know what I mean.  I think it’s cute and not too snug and so easy to play in.

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This sweet tween just keeps shooting up and growing out of her suits.  I’m currently making her a 7/8 width and a 12 length which makes store bought suits something we just can’t do.  She’s loving this darling red suit we just made and she’s rocking these two as well.

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This is the Made for Mermaids Calypso suit (I can’t sing the praises of the M4M Mermaid Shores suits enough!).  I love this fabric combo and this particular suit really comes together so quick.  Those flutters don’t need to be hemmed or gathered- hallelujah!  The RCF swim is nice and thick and not nearly as slippery as some of the other swim I’ve encountered.  It makes sewing through all those layers pretty painless.  I just make sure to clip more than with normal knits and my serger is my bff when it comes to swim knit.

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Can we talk about that booty coverage for a minute?!  That’s one of my favorite things about all the Mermaid Shores patterns.  I hate seeing my kids with wedgies the whole time their swimming and these bottoms just stay where they’re supposed to.  Those M4M girls know what this mama likes!

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Her other suit is a combo of my sons’ looks too.  I just had to try the Palm Euro pattern on her.  She loves boy short bottoms and I think this pattern was so perfect for her!  I love the little extra length they have over normal girl patterns.  This top is our trusty Camden Raglan from Hey June.  The only alteration I did to make it a rash guard was to do a self lining on the front, essentially it’s just two layers of the white swim knit.  It worked lovely and isn’t a bit see through.  I used my Cricut again for her graphic and love this cute little set.

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I’ve got a couple more suits lined up before summer’s end.  I really love being able to sew suits to not only fit their personalities and personal style but also fit their unique body types.   This is the main reason I sew for these kiddos and one of those things that brings my pure joy!

Movie Night Pj’s and a Lesson Learned

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Is there anything better than new pajamas?!! I don’t think so!  I love my kids in fresh pj’s but chances are you’ll catch them sleeping in old tees and thread bare bottoms (if they even manage to change out of their clothes they wore that day).  New pajamas are almost irresistible and I can guarantee they’ll reach for them any chance they’re clean.

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This kiddo was especially in need of summer sleepwear as he’s had a major growth spurt and none of his fit from last year.  The free Movie Night Pajamas from Sew A Little Seam (grab the code in the Facebook Group) were exactly what I was looking for.  I decided to sew up a batch all at once and knew I could count on Kelly’s pattern to come together great.  Here’s where I learned my lesson…

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I have been sewing PDF patterns for about 5 years now and it’s about time I made this mistake.  As the school year was coming close to an end I wanted to pack in as many projects as I could into my last few afternoons alone.  I printed off about 8 patterns and assembled a handful to be ready for some serious sewing time.  I cut and sewed two sets of pajamas and couldn’t figure out why they were so big!  He tried on the yoga waistband mid-sew and it was huge.  I naively thought it was just his little waist and took in the band a couple of inches.  I completed both sets and just thought the pattern must run a little on the loose side.

It wasn’t until a day later as I was assembling another pattern from a different designer that it dawned on me how unusual the pattern had printed, leaving almost nothing to trim off the edges.  I FINALLY got my ruler out to see that everything I’d printed had been printed to fit the page, not actual size like they should be.  Duh!!!  I rarely check to make sure the correct settings are selected because I’m the primary user of our printer.  You better believe I’ll do it every time now.  My 1 inch square was just 1/16th off, not a big deal, right?!!  Well, now I know exactly how much that 1/16th can affect the body of a pattern piece.

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I just had to go back and do another set so I could get a true sense for how it was supposed to fit and to see just how much it had affected the final product.  I’m super happy I caught it before I had assembled the rest of the stack of patterns I’d printed and so glad I made the mistake on pajamas, a garment that is still totally wearable even if it’s a little big.  You will see in this post the difference in fit between the planes and bears, the ‘bad’ versions, and the mustard stripes, the correct fit.

You can see that the fit of the planes isn’t terrible just looser and wider than expected.  The stripe pj’s fit him like his favorite ready-to-wear ones, close but not too snug.

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Don’t you just love them though!  These fabrics from Raspberry Creek and Riley Blake are just so soft, they make the perfect pajamas!  My kids reach for their RCF pj’s over and over and I feel like they never get worn out.  I also love that they can pick cute novelty prints for them that I might not be drawn to for everyday clothes.  This little guy has been wanting that bear fabric ever since it released so he’s one happy camper!

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Please tell me I’m not alone in getting all the way through constructing a garment before figuring out my error.  What has been your biggest “Doh” moment while sewing?  I know we all make mistakes (What would we do without out our handy seam rippers?) and I’d love to hear your stories.  I love that through our mistakes we can learn and turn those ‘What was I thinking?’ instances into ‘I’ll never do that again!’ lessons.

 

Sewing WITH Kids

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As my kids get older they’ve caught the sewing bug.  They get an idea in their heads then just have to get it sewn up right then- sound familiar sewists?!  Today I’m going to share a few of their favorite makes and our tips for a happy sewing experience.

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This guy just dives right into each project with absolutely no fear.  I never really taught him how to sew and remember the day when he was about 8-years-old and I caught him mending his socks with my serger.  No intimidation with this kid!

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My older kids are not really interested in sewing up pillowcases, bags, or other standard beginner projects.  I think since I sew primarily clothing, that’s what they want to sew too.  He really wanted a hoodie like his older brothers and we sewed this up in an afternoon.  Hoodies are a go-to for me when teaching my kids to sew.  My oldest has made a couple of Greenstyle Hudson Hoodies and my younger kids love the Hey June Hatteras Hoodie.  The bands make it easy to finish with no knit hems and I think a hood can be even easier to do than a tricky knit neckband.  For the most part hoodies can be done on a serger which makes for a more professional finish that they’ll be proud of.  Another bonus with hoodies is that french terry is a great fabric to work with.  It’s nice and thick and doesn’t curl as easily as thinner knits.

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He made this last fall and wore this constantly all winter long!  A couple other easy projects I’ve made with my older boys are t shirts (this one from Jalie or the Jolly Roger Raglan from P4P are favorites), joggers (Boxwoods from Sew Like My Mom and Mini Hudson Pants from True Bias), and pajamas (the free Walk the Plank bottoms from P4P).

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This sweet girly loves to sew as well.  She took a sewing class last summer with her best friend and I’ve been super grateful she did.  She was able to learn all the proper techniques and gain the confidence to really tackle projects on her own.  During her class she used a regular sewing machine and made bags, pillows, and pajamas.  They taught her how to cut out patterns and which stitches to use.  For her first big project at home she also sewed up a Hatteras Hoodie with her brother.  It was so fun having them working side by side!

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She loves to sew birthday gifts for her friends.  She makes backpacks, sleeping masks, and hair things.  We love the Made for Mermaids HUGE collection of Free Patterns– there are tons of great beginner projects and loads of things perfect for gifting.

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Her latest sew was a fun one!  We sewed the Mainland Collection from Striped Swallow Designs together.  She sewed the Rhapsody Joggers and I did the Highlander Dolman.    She picked these darling fabrics from our Project Run and Play winnings from Riley Blake Designs.  They are so cute together and such a great weight, making them easy to work with.

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The top is also another great beginner project that I think she could do on her own next time.  We changed a few things with the patterns to make them even quicker, easier sews.

We did a wide yoga waistband on the joggers and a wide band on the bottom of the top.  She plans to wear this set primarily as lounge wear so comfort was key!  It also made construction even easier.

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The pocket construction on these pants is super fun and quite easy for her to figure out.  I love the oversized look of them too!

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I changed the sleeves to have a wide cuff, one of my favorite features on tops lately.  I think it adds a cute detail to this top.

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I think the most difficult part of this top is the bound neckline and optional ties.  It’s such a nice finish and she’s so meticulous that I’m sure she could handle it next time.  It’s definitely my favorite thing about this pattern!

mainland5Here’s a breakdown of some of my tips for sewing with older kids:

1- Let them pick their project.  They’re more likely to finish a project they’ve picked themselves and will be proud to wear the finished garment if it’s something they’ve been eyeing in stores.

2- Pick fabrics that are easy to sew with.  I like thick knits like cotton/lycra (Raspberry Creek, Art Gallery, and Riley Blake are perfect!) or french terry (Raspberry Creek has you covered!).  For wovens, I love Robert Kaufman Mammoth flannels for pj’s or quilting cottons for household projects.  Good quality fabric might be hard on the wallet but it’ll make all the difference in how easy it is to sew and how well the finished project will hold up.

3- If you’d use a serger on the project, let your kids use it also.  I know that blade is scary but I’ve found my kids are cautious and careful around it.  We use clips to hold pieces together and they work great at making sure they sew nice and slow too!

4- Go easy on them but also make them unpick when necessary.  When I learned to sew as a teen I was so resentful of my seam ripper.  My mom made me unpick things until they were perfect.  Guess what I’ve learned- perfection isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!  If it’s close enough and won’t cause problems further in the construction, let it be.  Sometimes though a little seam ripping just needs to be done.  When sewing these joggers my daughter sewed a cuff on with the seam on the outside.  She quickly ripped the seam out and had it sewn on correctly in no time.  Lesson learned!  We grow the most from our mistakes so don’t deny them that opportunity, lol!

5- Have fun!  It’s hard not to think that you could probably finish the project in half the time but sit back and enjoy those moments with your kiddos.  They go too quickly!

 

 

Greenstyle Hudson Hoodie for my Dad

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When I saw this camo print from Raspberry Creek I knew immediately I needed to sew it up for my dad.  I rarely sew for gifts (my perfectionism kicks in and I stress way too much about it) but I just knew this would be a great Christmas present for him.  He loves the outdoors and hunting so this print was just meant for him.

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The muted colors in this print are my favorite and that oatmeal french terry base is just amazingly soft.  (The oatmeal base has sold out repeatedly and is not currently available, huge bummer, but I’ll update this when it’s back in stock.)

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I had a tiny bit of the print left and just had to make Charlie a matching pair of joggers.  These pictures of Papa and his buddy are just priceless to me.  Seriously, my heart just might burst!

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I used the Greenstyle Hudson Hoodie with little modification (I had to cut my hood in two pieces to make it fit on my fabric).  The fit is great and it comes together quickly and smoothly (if you’re not stressing over all the little details ;).  My dad is 6’1″ and I didn’t need to add any length.  It helps that my oldest son is almost the same height so he was a great test model.  I think that’s the other hard thing about sewing for gifts.  Picking a size and hoping it fits is a pretty nerve wracking thing!  Luckily I think it worked out well this time.

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I added a tiny leather tag and one of my favorite metal tags to the band as well.  I really appreciate little details and hope they make the sweatshirt look less ‘homemade’.

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Charlie’s pants are the new Lexi and Lou Loungers from Made for Mermaids.  I did the jogger version and love them so much!  They come together so quickly.  I needed to print a new size for him anyways so I thought I’d give a new pattern a try.  Since he lives in his joggers, I think a variety of patterns is great to have.

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He was instantly in love with these pants and refused to take them off after.  I’m pretty sure he’d still be wearing them, five days later, if I’d let him!

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This shoot was a lot of fun.  My dad is an excellent photographer and I think my love for photography comes from him.  He was interested to see how these shoots go and what I do with my camera settings and such.  Little did he know I’m just about clueless when it comes to my camera and I just shoot and shoot and hope for some good ones.  We hit golden hour at one of my favorite spots.  Between great models, beautiful location, and gorgeous light this shoot turned out to be a favorite for sure!

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My dad has convinced me to get out of my comfort zone and sew more for others.  I love how happy (and handsome!) he looks in this!  That’s the best reward ever!

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I’ll leave you with this pic- straight out of a fashion magazine 😉  I love how they’re channeling their inner super models.  Perfection!

 

Love Notions Thomas Track Pants

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There’s exciting things happening in the Love Notions Pattern world.  Kelly has joined Tami as an assistant designer and has just released her first pattern!  I love working with Kelly and know she’s been after a great track pant pattern for ages.  So it was obvious they should be her inaugural pattern.

(This post contains affiliate links.  Purchasing through these links provides me a small commission that I use to keep up fabric hoarding obsession.)

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The Thomas Track Pants are so full of options!  You’ve got to check out Kelly’s ah-mazing cover pair.  Pockets, colorblocking, and hem zippers make them perfect for your little athletes.  They come in sizes 2t-14 and I’m thinking my teenage soccer players need some too!

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Charlie asked for some cozy pajama pants and picked out this plush fleece for his first pair.  After trying them on he declared them soooo soft and comfy and had to wear them to school that day.  So they may have started out as pj’s but have become his go-to pants whenever they are clean.  This is the basic no pocket, solid version.  They’re a super quick sew and the perfect fit!

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I made Charlie a couple Moto Maxx tops and he needed a pair of track pants to match too!  This version features the cool colorblocking.  I skipped the other bells and whistles which made these another quick sew.  I used the much sought after oatmeal french terry from Raspberry Creek Fabrics with some olive heathered french terry (also from RCF but currently out of stock) for the accent.   His top is also made with RCF cotton lycra jersey (so soft!).

Just in case you need the perfect top to go with your new track pants, I can’t recommend the Moto Maxx enough!  I love being able to mix and match prints and that shoulder detail is too cool.  Boys clothing can be boring but not with this pattern!

I’m so excited for Kelly to be joining the design team and to be dreaming up more boy patterns.  I love sewing for this kid and know Kelly will do some fantastic things!

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I’ll leave you with this gem.  He’s pretty convinced that ‘matching’ means wearing head to toe of the same color.  He just had to wear his new shades and I think he’s doing his best to intimidate you into grabbing this pattern!  I know you’ll love it as much as he does!

 

Favorite Patterns Valentine Style

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I’ve been loving stocking my kids closets with warm, comfy sweatshirts.  They are the first things they reach for all winter long.

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This guy outgrew his beloved flannel front Samson Sweater and it was about time he got a new version.  The Samson Sweater (affiliate link- I get a small kickback if you purchase through Love Notions links in this post) has tons of options- crewneck, hoodie, button-front cardigan.  This simple relaxed raglan style is such a great fit.  I absolutely love this Mammoth Plaid Flannel/charcoal french terry combo (all fabric from Raspberry Creek Fabrics).  I didn’t make any modifications to use this woven as the front piece and the fit is fantastic!

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My oldest daughter got another Sloane Sweater (affl. link) because we can’t get enough cute sweatshirts!  I took the same plaid flannel and cut a simple heart.  I serged the edges then edgestitched it on.  It was looking a little too plain jane so my Cricut came to the rescue.  In five minutes flat we had the ‘love’ cut and ironed on!  I think it’s the perfect finishing touch!

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This cute fabric combo just jumped into my arms during my last trip into Raspberry Creek.  I sewed up a new Toaster Sweater for me in this pretty quilted knit (coming soon to the blog too!) and I couldn’t waste any of it!  I sewed up another favorite pattern- the Hey June Hatteras Hoodie view B.  It’s one of my go-to patterns when I want to do a little color-blocking.  I mixed in the Salmon Dots in french terry and Light grey french terry for bands and I’m loving this fun fabric mix!  I modified the pattern just a bit by doing an extended cowl neckline.  I simply used the band length and widened the width to 6″ to give it a cute slouchy turtleneck look.  It’s an extra cozy addition!

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A little girl in pink polka dots just kills me!

My kids should be set in the sweatshirt department for awhile!

Valentine’s Sewing with Raspberry Creek Fabrics

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I’ve been sewing a ton for my kiddos lately and it’s about time they all made it to the ol’ blog.  Today I’ll share all the lovely, cozy goodies that I’ve done with some of the newest fabrics to hit Raspberry Creek Fabrics.

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I hope you’re planning on sewing a couple of projects for Valentine’s because Raspberry Creek has got your fabric needs covered!

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This pretty floral french terry was so fun to pair with other coordinates in the shop.  I used the Metro Pullover from Sew Straight and Gather.  I love the cowl option and all the opportunities it has for color blocking.  I paired it with the mint stripes, mint dots, and light grey french terry.

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Big sis fell in love with this fun springy gingham.  I used the Janie Dress from Mouse House Creations and love, love this darling dress!

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Little Bro was loving this ‘Tic Tac Toe’ fabric- I loved how convinced he was that it’s not just x’s and o’s!  With a little solid white and black jersey and a darling cut file from Thread and Grain, this basic Jolly Roger Raglan turned out too cute!

Such a fun line right?!!  And in true RCF fashion the new prints just keep coming…

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The newest Minimalist line is simple and clean in black and white.  These two cute cousins love their new tops.

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Cute Hank buddy is wearing a School Bus Tee in handrawn triangle jersey.  I’d say it’s a winner!

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Charlie got another Jolly Roger Raglan- this time I sized up and did a crossover hood and kangaroo pocket.  This pattern is just about all I need to keep this kid in tops- cozy sweatshirt, fun tee, it does it all! In plush french terry it’s too good!

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This little miss is sporting another Janie Dress in Paint Splatter jersey.

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And how cute is this print paired with the red polka dots on this sweetie?!!

That’s a lot of cute kids and fabric!  Sorry if you’re sweet tooth is aching!  Make sure to stop by tomorrow for a few more kid project!

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